In 2006, The Big Bang Theory creators, Chuck Lorre and Bill Prady, shared their idea for the show with executives but the pilot was turned down immediately by networks. According to CheatSheet, the show had to be either heavily rewritten or scrapped entirely. In the unaired pilot, TBBT still had Leonard and Sheldon as the stars but everything else was different.
The show had a much darker tone. With Sheldon and Leonard still being geniuses who lived together, they also lived a very lonely life. The pilot revolved around them meeting and helping a young woman who was down on her luck. But unlike Penny that fans grew to love, this character was Penny’s polar opposite. The extreme differences in the unaired pilot make fans appreciate the aired pilot so much more.
10 Sheldon Notes What He Likes Most About A Woman’s Body
The Sheldon Cooper that fans come to know appears completely uninterested in sex and romance. He’s not interested in women in the slightest and is much more a man of the mind. But that wasn’t how he was written in the unaired pilot.
The unaired pilot starts with Sheldon and Leonard at the sperm bank (just like in the aired pilot). But when Leonard jokes around about Sheldon’s preferences in women, Sheldon says, “Fortunately, I stumbled across a magazine that featured women with large buttocks.” Sheldon has said plenty of off quotes in this pilot but this was by far the most uncharacteristic.
9 There Was No Penny
Leonard and Penny’s relationship timeline was a major subplot throughout TBBT. But in the unaired pilot, Penny was not a character and Kaley Cuoco was not cast. Cinema Blend agreed that it’s hard to imagine TBBT without Penny, but in her place was a woman named Katie.
Katie is introduced while Sheldon and Leonard are walking home from the sperm bank and find her crying on the curb. She was blonde like Penny but that’s all the two had in common. It becomes clear that the show will focus on Sheldon, Leonard, and Katie.
8 Katie Was Edgier & Angrier
When fans meet Penny, she’s bubbly, happy, and genuinely interested in Sheldon and Leonard’s brilliance. She’s in awe of her new neighbors and appreciated their company. Katie, on the other hand, was a darker character.
According to the unaired pilot’s Fandom page, Katie was a “tough-as-nails” character. She judged Leonard and Sheldon upon meeting them and was irritated by them. The only reason why she hung around them in this episode was because Leonard offered to buy her dinner. While fans didn’t always have nice opinions of Penny, watching Katie’s angry personality made fans miss Penny all the more.
7 Sheldon Has Been Around Naked Women
Not only did Sheldon admit to liking the backsides of women, but he also proclaimed to Katie that he’s seen “six women naked.”
While at dinner, Katie judges the guys’ social status and asked Sheldon if he’s ever “seen a lady naked.” Sheldon was silent for a while before admitting, “I have seen six women naked.” In the show that fans know, Sheldon has never had sex, and doesn’t for much of his relationship timeline with Amy. It’s one of the things that made him and Amy so close.
6 Katie’s Boyfriend Wasn’t Longterm Like Penny’s Was
One of the saddest things about Penny upon meeting her was that she had just gotten out of a relationship with a guy that she had been with for four years. The apartment across the hall from Sheldon and Leonard was Penny’s first act of independence.
In a clip from the unaired pilot, Katie had also just gotten out of a relationship, but it wasn’t the same length as Penny’s. Katie told Leonard and Sheldon that she found out her boyfriend had a wife, which is much worse than simply dealing with a breakup.
5 Sheldon & Leonard Had A Spare Bedroom!
Leonard and Sheldon’s apartment is a main location in the aired version of TBBT. Between apartment 4A and apartment 4B, Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment had the best scenes and was a place is the spot where everyone comes together and converses.
The apartment shown in the unaired version, however, was completely different. It was darker and smaller. There even appeared to be a fireplace with Sheldon’s whiteboard resting on top of it!
4 Meet Gilda!
In the version of TBBT that fans come to love, the one female friend that Leonard and the gang have is Leslie Winkle. She works in the same department as Leonard and later has chemistry with both Leonard and Howard. In the unaired version, a clip shows another female colleague, a scientist named Gilda. Gilda spoke the same scientific language that Sheldon and Leonard did and seemed threatened by Katie’s intrusion on the group.
3 Sheldon Was Sexually Experienced
Sheldon wasn’t one to think much about women or sexuality in TBBT. He only began having those feelings once he met Amy. However, in a clip from the unaired pilot, it was noted that Sheldon was sexually active. Gilda told Leonard that she and Sheldon had slept together, which Sheldon wanted to keep on the down-low. It makes no sense that Sheldon would causally sleep around but that’s the difference between the unaired and aired pilot.
2 Where’s Raj And Howard?
One of the biggest differences in the unaired pilot is how lonely Sheldon, Leonard, and Gilda seem to be. Their apartment was dark, they had little friends, and they appeared desperate. More than that, Howard and Raj were nowhere to be found in the unaired pilot. The focus on friendship is a large theme throughout TBBT, and it’s crazy to picture the series without Penny, Raj, and Howard.
1 Sheldon Goes To A Bar And Drinks
At the end of the unaired pilot, Sheldon, Leonard, and Gilda go to a bar with Katie to party. But Sheldon going out and partying could have killed the show in itself. It’s so unlike his character that it’s hard to picture Sheldon casually drinking a beer and dancing on a dance floor with his friends. Nevertheless, this was the old Sheldon. The Sheldon that fans know today would never unless incredibly heartbroken or in the name of science.